Episode 25: Other Paths I Have Explored

I have to admit, my story of spiritual wandering reads more like a sprint than a wander. I have been blessed enough to have found a home base at a young age, after only a few years of poking around the pagan community. Even after my introduction to Kemetic Orthodoxy, I’ve still nosed curiously at other paths, trying to see the Divine from various perspectives.

I was raised Roman Catholic, and while I disagree with some of the dogma and the draconian regulations, I will say easily that Catholic ritual and devotion is absolutely beautiful. I still retain something of a relationship with some of the saints I venerated as a Catholic; now they are not just saints to me, but akhu alongside the rest of my blessed dead. I have also kept my love of song in ritual, so that I sing with and for my gods in Their shrines.

My stepdad’s religion, Eckankar, is what led me to explore non-Christian paths. I was questioning my Catholic roots pretty deeply, and since he was the first non-Christian I ever really knew with any depth, I wound up finding his books and his insight valuable. The hardest struggle for me was learning that there are other truths, other paths to the Divine, and his confidence in his path helped me find my own, in the end.

My first wholly independent step towards paganism came with a deck of Tarot cards I got as a gift, one Christmas. Ironically, I had vowed the night before to dedicate myself to God as I’d never been before – I had just been dumped by one of my high school boyfriends and was turning to God for comfort. In exploring the Tarot, I learned about Wicca, and the idea that the Divine could be both male and female – that there was duality in all things. It was during this time that I stumbled across the idea of ma’at, though I didn’t know it. I began to contemplate cosmic balance, and order – living a kind of middle path.

I never really latched on to most of the principles of Wicca that I read about, and I wasn’t so thrilled at the thought of being a solitary “Wiccan”, since that seemed somehow counterproductive. Instead, I considered myself a solitary eclectic pagan – the most generic label I could come up with. During this time I explored my relationship with the world and with the gods; I encountered Brighid, an Morrighan, Aphrodite, Venus, Apollo, Juno and Hestia during this time. I learned that Divine messages and conversation were not only possible, but powerful and common.

It was during this eclectic period that I came across the House of Netjer and Kemetic Orthodoxy. I continued (and still continue) exploring other religions as a syncretic and academic practice – and as a way to remain a participant in my local community of faith.

Before I started the Beginners class, I attended a few meetings of the local ADF grove, the Grove of the Other Gods. This was my first exposure to a group pagan ritual, and I had no idea what to expect. It was also my first face-to-face experience with pagan community. In short, it was awesome. I would still gladly participate, if life hadn’t had other plans. I learned the power of group worship there; the joy of community celebration.

I even recently explored a local Unitarian Universalist congregation, thinking that having a centering space nearby would be helpful during my crisis of faith this Winter. While the congregation didn’t prove to be something I was interested in joining long term, I found my faith bolstered at the local church, and found myself slowly warming to the Gods again during the well-spoken sermons and services.

I consider myself blessed to have walked among so many different paths, whether I was exploring or just visiting for a time. I think that even in paths that I would never follow, I have found a good deal of valuable wisdom that I will continue to honor and keep.

2 thoughts on “Episode 25: Other Paths I Have Explored

  1. I consumed so much information during my years of exploration that I don’t even remember when I came across the HoN for the first time. I do know however that the link sat in my favorites file on my computer for at least five years before I finally applied to beginners. Wicca never really clicked with me either but I hung out in the Pagan community and attended open rituals very often because I craved community.

    1. I think of Wicca as a kind of gateway religion, heh – lots of people start there because it’s frequently in the public eye, and then meander around until they either settle or move on. 🙂 But yes – I found the House a while before I even considered joining too. My hesitation was that I thought I had to be Egyptian to worship the Egyptian gods… ^_^;

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